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Leader’s Choice BEST ATTORNEY

Heights product Gonzalez tabbed to lead ICE By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, who grew up in the Heights, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to be the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a White House spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

Gonzalez did not respond to a Tuesday text message seeking comment. Gonzalez worked as a Houston Police Department detective before serving three terms as the Houston City Council representative for District H. The Democrat was first elected as county sheriff in 2016 and re-elected last year.

Gonzalez

“Congrats to my friend Sheriff Ed Gonzalez on being nominated to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the Biden Administration,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo wrote on Twitter. “I’ll be sad for him to leave us, but President Biden will gain a compassionate, thoughtful and courageous leader.”

Planting Roots

Local transgender families speak out against proposed state legislation By Betsy Denson

2018, 2019, 2020

betsy@theleadernews.com

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INSIDE.

High honor. Booker T. Washington High School plans to erect a statue of its namesake.

Page 4A

Photo by Gabe Castillo, from Trees For Houston Trees For Houston supplied trees for an Arbor Day planting event in January 2019 at Memorial Park, where two young girls worked together. The historically nomadic nonprofit is in the process of moving to a permanent home in Oak Forest.

On the mend. U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw says he is recovering from retinal surgery.

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Still dancing. Houston Dance Works is celebrating 10 years in the community.

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Tree-growing nonprofit moving to Oak Forest By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com Trees For Houston has helped plant 600,000 trees in the region since its inception in 1983. Perhaps that number would be much higher if the nonprofit organization had not been nomadic during much of that time. Now Trees For Houston is planting roots – in Oak Forest – and hopes to grow even faster and provide even more shade and fresh air across the city. Executive director Barry Ward said Trees For Houston has raised $6.5 million during the last year and is in the process of purchasing the 1.5-acre property at 2001 W. 34th St., where it plans to construct an environmentally friendly headquarters that will include a main office, indoor and outdoor education center and tree farm. The organization had cycled through several homes during the last four decades, Ward said, spending the last handful of years on the East End. “We really were limited because we didn’t have a home,” Ward said. “We were either paying rent or relying on free space donated by corporations. But we ended up moving constantly.” Trees For Houston’s new home, where Ward said it has distributed about 6,000 trees from a vacant lot during the

Heights resident Anna Eastman, a former Houston ISD trustee and former state representative, said she cannot remember a time when there were so many proposed state laws that would negatively impact the transgender community. The so-called “bathroom bill” was in the 2017 Texas Legislature session and did not pass. This year, however, Equality Texas – a political advocacy organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights – has identified more than 10 bills it says target transgender youth and families. In the past few weeks, bills that would ban genderaffirming healthcare for youth and prohibit youth participation in sports that align with a transgender person’s preferred identity have been moving through the House and Senate. And Eastman – whose daughter Helen has since come out as a transgender female – is now in the position of testifying against them. While she is opposed to all the bills that restrict the rights of transgender Texans, she said the ones that would penalize families, classifying genderaffirming healthcare as child abuse and criminalizing doctors who provide it, are most frightening to her. “We were really lucky,” Eastman said. “When my own kid came out to me there were highly regarded professionals who made the journey a lot easier. I cannot fathom the levels of stress added if our support was classified as child abuse. Even having the debate in the House and Senate makes kids a target.” Or as Helen said in her testimony against the healthcare bills: “The idea that my parents could have been punished for accepting me and allowing me to be the person I need to be is frightening.” On the other side of the issue is State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, who represents Senate District 7 in west Harris County. Bettencourt is a sponsor of Senate Bill See Legislation P. 5A

Photo by Ken Childress Photography Two young tree planters in Houston show off their dirty gloves.

last five months, figures to help the nonprofit increase its tree growth and expand its reach throughout the region. It is centrally located and close to Loop 610, which circles around the heart of the city. The organization, which plans to start construction this See Trees P. 5A

Contributed photo Indigo Giles, a transgender Garden Oaks resident, testified against proposed state laws related to gender-affirming care.

Popular stray snared by BARC

Clearing a path. A bike-lane cleanup event was recently held in Northside Village.

By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

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THE INDEX. Church....................................................... 4A Classifieds.............................................. 5A Coupons. ................................................. 3B Food/Drink/Art................................... 7A Obituaries.............................................. 4A Opinion. ................................................... 3A Public Information......................... 8A Puzzles...................................................... 3A Sports. ....................................................... 3B

Gonzalez attended Field Elementary and Hamilton Middle School while growing up in the Heights. A White House spokesperson said in an email that Gonzalez’s nomination will be sent to the U.S. Senate, which is tasked with confirming the nomination. Follow Adam Zuvanich on Twitter @AZuvanich

Contributed photo Bob, the stray dog that has roamed neighborhood streets for at least six years, was recently captured by animal control and is being transferred to an animal rescue group.

Bob sightings became popular social media fodder during the last several years in the Garden Oaks and Oak Forest areas, where residents would snap photos and share their encounters with a skittish stray dog who liked to roam neighborhood streets and lounge on front lawns. The black Labrador mix with a lopped-off tail, who had been coming around since at least 2015 but mostly avoided contact with humans, likely has made his last appearance in the community. Bob, as he has long been known, was sedated with tranquilizer darts and picked up by BARC, the City of

Houston’s animal shelter and adoption center, on the morning of April 23. Jarrad Mears, an animal enforcement division manager with the city, said in an email Tuesday that Bob and another dog were impounded at the request of a citizen. Bob will not be euthanized, according to Mears, who said BARC was in the process of transferring him to an animal rescue group that will attempt to rehabilitate him and find him a home. Oak Forest resident Melinda Gleghorn, a local animal advocate who has helped facilitate that arrangement, said Bob and his companion Rowdy – a gray pit bull that also was picked up – will temporarily be under the care of Cypress Lucky Mutt Rescue with the plan to subse-

quently be adopted. “You could always tell he wanted to be with us, but just couldn’t quite trust us,” Gleghorn said. “But being in the presence of Bob is such a special thing. He has such a special spirit about him.” There was an immediate outpouring of support for Bob when Gleghorn shared the news of his capture in a local Facebook group last weekend, with residents pledging to donate money to cover the costs to have Bob trained and prepared for adoption. She said about $1,000 was pledged in a matter of 20 minutes. As of Tuesday, more than 60 residents had pledged a total of about $5,000. See Bob P. 8A

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Page 2A • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • The Leader

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THE TOPICS. The Leader • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • Page 3A

My Mudcats may need a better coach By Jonathan McElvy Jonathan@McElvyPartners.com

T

he reason I volunteered to coach my oldest son’s youth baseball team this year was to pay back what some wonderful men gave me when I was a long-haired, baggy-socked, rail of a kid more than three decades ago. Without a second’s hesitation, I can list them all. Judge John Karrh, a powerfully gentle man, drove our team from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Atlanta after the season to watch a Braves game in Fulton County Stadium. I had to borrow $5 from Judge Karrh that night because I didn’t understand budgeting at age 10. He never came collecting. Bryan Chandler coached our All-Star team. He was meek, a bit nervous – an accountant by trade and in the dugout. His son, Eric, and I are still best of friends today, and I’ll never forget the hug Theresa Chandler (coach’s wife/player’s mom) gave me after I struck out three batters in a row to win a tournament. Joel Williams owned a barber shop near the University of Alabama. He famously cut Bear Bryant’s hair and had a framed Sports Illustrated page on the wall to prove it. The barber coached a lot like the Bear – gruff and the ever-present aroma of a Winston. In one game, I was struggling on the mound and he handed me a stick of chewing gum. “Here, chew this. It will help you relax,” he told me. Coach Williams probably should have handed

me one of his Winstons, because the gum didn’t help. Beneath that smoky skin was one of the kindest men I ever knew. He cut my hair until I graduated college. If there was a man kinder than Joel Williams, I found him my next season. Charlie Hughen knew how to raise his voice, it’s just that he didn’t very often. He loved baseball, he knew baseball, and his son, Scott, was the superstar of our team. I was sad at the end of that season, because Scott was a year older, which meant Charlie wouldn’t be my coach. That turned out OK, because Jerry Plott wanted to win more than any of them. That should happen when your boys are in their teen years. Jerry’s son, Bobby, and I were as close as brothers those days, and I’m pretty sure Jerry and his wife, Pat, considered me a son back then. I don’t remember how many games we won or lost, but if I saw Jerry Plott today, I’m pretty sure he’d hug my neck and tell me stories about a baseball game in the late ’80s. Those men are the reasons I volunteered to coach the 7- & 8-yearold Mudcats this season. I did it for my oldest son Hank, because I love that boy. I love being around him, and I want him to love the game the way I did. I also did it for the 11 other boys on our team, hoping I could return that $5 from Judge Karrh or the stick of gum from Joel Williams. Maybe, three decades from now, one of them will remember my name and something I said. What I hope none of my players

Contributed photo Publisher Jonathan McElvy has been coaching his son, Hank, in youth baseball.

remember is our record. Wow. It is not good. With one game to go, the Mighty Mudcats are swimming perilously close to the mud – two games out of last place. With such a tribute to my former coaches, you’d think I’d be better at this. You’d think I picked up enough knowledge to make us an immediate league contender. If this were a postgame press conference, I’d tell you the ball hasn’t bounced our way. Then I’d tell you we’ve dealt with an unfortunate string of injuries that has kept us out of the hunt. For starters, every player has had a bout of emotional injuries. That’s right, every single player on our team has cried at least once during a game. That’s tough sledding for a

team trying to get over the hump. We’ve had two players miss time from cuts to their hands. Both instances happened as the athletes were climbing the fence in the dugout. We’ve had six players who lost their wits because they couldn’t find their hats – in a dugout that measures about 5 feet deep and 12 feet long. In a space of roughly 60 square feet, about the size of a prison cell, these boys have lost their hats. How can they possibly remember where to throw the ball with a runner on first if they can’t remember where they placed their hats six minutes earlier? We’ve had players sidelined with inch-long strawberries after sliding into first base – even though we’ve

Dishwasher out at home plate THE KITCHEN – Wash the pot, dry the pot. Wash the butcher knife, dry it. Why am I standing here in front of the sink handwashing all these dishes? Because my dishwasher is broken, specifically it is leaking. I promise that sometime in the future your dishwasher will break, so listen up. About 68 percent of American households have a dishwasher in the kitchen. Half of those households use it between one and six times per week. Of the 80 million households that have a dishwasher, 16 million (almost 20 percent) do not use it. Maybe I can borrow theirs. Being a quick learner, after a few months of noticing the leak, I called an expert on such matters: an Instrument Adjusting Mechanic of Crockery Cleansing, aka a dishwasher repairer. He put me down for the next available appointment: November. I moved up in his list by noting that in this pandemic I am an essential worker. I mean, someone has to Adopt-a-Highway and pick up the beer cans. He arrived the next week right on time, or at least on the week, and I gave thanks because these days we can’t quibble about promptness. After Houston’s Big Freeze, finding a repairman is like finding a winning Texas Democrat candidate. His name was Marmaduke. He got down on his knees and took off the bottom cover, then poked around. “Your pump is shot. It has to be replaced,” he said. Have you noticed that no one repairs anything anymore? They just replace. That’s why there are so many divorce lawyers. Marmaduke said he would order the pump and be back – in three weeks. Now shouldn’t a simple dishwasher pump be in his truck, or he could pop over to Home Depot or Pumps R Us and get a replacement? Maybe he had to email an expert pumpmaker in Germany with the exact details of my model, then Hans von Snifflegrooper would begin making a new one. In the weeks without a working dishwasher, to reduce handwashing we began using our stock of paper plates, although one can get tired of looking at “Happy Birthday” every meal. You don’t have to wash paper plates, just erase them. We began using disposable plastic silverware, and we had piles of them. Due to the pandemic, we had been using Grubhub or picking up food at restaurants, although many of my favorite restaurants were closed – by the Health Department. But they always put in plastic knives, forks and spoons and a useless little paper napkin. In the past, occasionally I would drop off the packets of plastic at the Goodwill store

Lynn Ashby Columnist

– and also do my Christmas shopping. Fortunately, I had not made a run in a month. But you can’t cut a steak or even an apple with one of those little plastic knives. Pots, spatulas and jiggers had to be hand washed. I had had some experience in such chores. At UT I worked in the kitchen at Kinsolving Dorm, 456 coeds and me. (I’ll say no more.) My job was running the dishwasher, a huge, hot machine that supposedly scrubbed lipstick off the forks. In the Marines I had KP duty, but most of the cans had been licked clean. While waiting for Marmaduke’s return, I launched an inquiry into these machines and found all sorts of models with dials and buttons going from “On” and “Off” to a panel looking like the dashboard of an F-35 fighter jet. I discovered if you are a treehugger, don’t hand-wash your dishes. That can use up more than three times the amount of water used by a dishwasher, according to Review.com. And the University of Bonn discovered that hand-washing also takes up three times the amount of electricity used in the dishwasher. Electricity? Maybe heating the water in an electric water heater. But it hits me as strange that a university would study such matters. “The Nobel Prize for Dishwasher Studies goes to Dr. Hans von Snifflegrooper of Bonn University.” Here are a few tips. Before you buy a new washer, measure the space it will fill. Most dishwasher standard sizes are 24 inches wide and 34 inches high. A stainless steel front is the most popular, but a white or black finish can be hundreds of dollars cheaper. The type of handle you want — bar vs. pocket — is also important because a bar handle can be up to $100 more. According to Consumer Reports, the highest rated dishwasher manufacturers are the European makers Bosch and Miele. If you want to buy American, get a Kenmore or KitchenAid. (Mine is a leaking KitchenAid.) The Kenmore Elite models received the highest overall score, but cost from $1,100 to $1,350. Washing tips: Don’t put your non-stick pots and pans in the washer. They will unstick. No cast iron skillets. No wooden-handled anythings. No pewter. No butcher knives;

dishwashing dulls them. Don’t put all the spoons together. They will stick. The good news is a washer can be used to cook foods at low temperatures, but make sure they are sealed. Dishwashers can be used to clean potatoes, other root vegetables, garden tools, sneakers, silk flowers, some sporting goods, plastic hairbrushes, baseball caps, plastic toys, toothbrushes, flip-flops, contact lens cases, a mesh filter from a range hood (I’ve done that), refrigerator shelves and bins, toothbrush holders, pet bowls and pet toys, but not the pets. I recommend washing dishes separately from your flip-flops and garden

kindly suggested they never slide into first base. And we’ve had four players miss time with BTF Syndrome. If that’s not an FDA-approved medical condition, it may be after this season. Obviously, I’m referring to Ball to the Face Syndrome, which occurs when a player tries to catch a ball directly in front of his face and the ball miraculously curves around the glove and lands squarely on the cheekbone. If it weren’t for this spate of bad luck on the injury front, I’m pretty sure we’d still be somewhere at the bottom of the standings. And I couldn’t be more proud. You see, most of these boys lost their first year of organized ball to COVID last year. For more than half our team, this is their first season, which means I’m the first coach they’ve had. For every ball to the face, we’ve had players learn to catch. For every strikeout (and boy have there been a few), each boy on our team has reached base and crossed home. For every time a player has cried, he’s had a hundred smiles on his face. And for every time I get to kneel next to one of our players and tell him to have some fun, I can see Joel Williams handing me a stick of gum. Now I know why those men invested in me, and why I can’t wait to do it again. Email jonathan@mcelvypartners. com

THE READER. The rich get richer

tools. Finally, a historical note: Josephine Cochrane patented her invention of a dishwasher on Dec. 28, 1886, and unveiled it at Chicago’s World Fair in 1893. It won the highest prize at the fair. Now you know more than you really want to know about dishwashers. Until yours breaks, save those Happy Birthday plates. Korrectshun: Earlier I wrote that “radio personality” Howard Stern is dead. He’s alive. I was thinking of Don Imus, who recently died in College Station, of all places.

Dear Editor: Regarding “The rich get richer” (Apr. 24): Lynn Ashby’s obligatory dig at Donald Trump overlooks the fact that tax laws are enacted by the legislature. Yes, a president proposes laws, but only the people’s representatives can render statutes. While Ashby disdains the “Republican Congress” that enacted President Trump’s proposals, no doubt he approves of a “Democrat Congress” which legislates as he wishes -- majority rule legitimate only if Lynn’s party is in the majority. Kudos and more power -- literally more power -- to the productive Americans who legally pay little or no taxes in today’s bizarre economy. Earned income remaining in the private sector fosters liberty and generates productive achievement. Tax revenue flushed into federal coffers.. as we see with President Harris Biden’s Congressional henchmen’s spending extravaganza... simply gets spread around, money confiscated from some Americans to benefit other, politically favored Americans. And anyway, given the incomprehensible bazillions of dollars simply being printed these days, what’s the point in levying any taxes at all? If I can buy a River Oaks mansion with a mortgage my great-great grandchildren perhaps might called upon to pay back long after I’ve died, why trouble myself to get a job and make any payments right now? J. Reynolds

Ashby scrubs at ashby2@comcast.net

Email us your letters: news@theleadernews.com

the leader Puzzlers. Answers found in this week’s Classified section

SUDOKU

aCrOss 1. Women (French) 5. Hyrax 8. Distress signal 11. Trade 13. Large northern deer 14. The 3 Wise Men 15. Marten of N Asian forests 16. Hoover’s agency 17. Received an A 18. 2nd Islamic month 20. Light brown 21. Clarified butter used in Indian cookery 22. Frankness 25. Argentina’s capital 30. Citizen of Kenya or Zimbabwe 31. Noah’s boat 32. Family of languages in So. Africa 33. Inappropriate 38. Scientific workplace 41. Hungriness 43. Say to talk about an annoying topic 45. Sing and play for somebody 47. Strike buster 49. A citizen of Thailand

50. Civil Rights group 55. Honest Company’s Jessica 56. ‘__ death do us part 57. Malarias 59. Claim against another’s property 60. Mined metalbearing mineral 61. Dashery 62. Capacity unit 63. Primary color 64. Indian dress

dOwn 1. Manuscripts (abbr.) 2. Netherlands river 3. Italian island 4. One’s own being 5. More adroit 6. Balkan country 7. Psychologist B.F. 8. Investment group Goldman ___ 9. Double curve 10. The plane of a figure 12. Ocean 14. Public presses 19. Civil Rights activist Parks 23. Cooking container 24. Arctic native

25. Founder of Babism 26. Bashkortostan capital 27. Bulky grayishbrown eagle 28. Louse egg 29. About sight 34. ___/Tuck: TV drama 35. Black tropical American cuckoo 36. Chest muscle (slang) 37. Expression of disappointment 39. One who assists 40. Antilles island 41. Served food 42. Egyptian Sun god 44. Performed successfully 45. Cavalry-sword 46. Abba __, Israeli politician 47. Jonas __, cured polio 48. The Muse of history 51. Express pleasure 52. Turkish leader titles 53. Castro country 54. Nobleman 58. ___ Lanka

WORD SCRAMBLE


Page 4A • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • The Leader

Washington honors distinguished alumna, plans statue of namesake By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

State Sen. John Whitmire said there is only one way to describe the impact made by Texas State Rep. and Booker T. Washington High School graduate Senfronia Thompson. “All you have to say is, ‘It’s Representative T’s legislation,’ and it immediately becomes a priority,” Whitmire said. As a result of her work in the Texas House of Representatives and the Houston community, Washington has made Thompson’s name its priority for life. The school dedicated its auditorium to the 1957 graduate, who is serving her 25th term in Austin, during a two-hour ceremony last Saturday, April 24. The occasion also served a dual purpose as the groundbreaking of Washington’s “The Vision” community statue project. The student-led project is raising money for a community plaza on the Independence Heights campus, with a statue of school namesake Booker T. Washington as its centerpiece. Washington, who died in 1915 at age 59, was known as a civil rights trailblazer as well as an educator, author and advisor to several U.S. presidents. Houston ISD said it will be only the third statue of an African American in the City

of Houston, after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and former U.S. Rep. George Thomas “Mickey” Leland, and the first in the historically Black neighborhood of Independence Heights. “Booker T. Washington showed how one person can change the world; Mrs. Thompson showed how one person can change a state,” said State Sen. Borris Miles, who represents the 13th District in the Texas Senate. Last year, students from Washington’s High School of Engineering Profession’s Magnet school traveled to Tuskegee, Alabama, in hopes of building the statue of Washington -- who founded the Tuskegee Institute -– but were denied. However, students still wanted to honor their namesake. So Principal Carlos Phillips approached HISD Manager of Special Projects Marcus Sheppard about the project earlier this year, and work began. Over the last several months, students have been making weekly pitches to Sheppard in efforts to refine and tweak the project in order to properly honor Washington’s impact and legacy. “Students, I’m so proud of each of you for the work you’ve done,” Phillips said. “Over the past five months you have had to think, collect ideas, create unique concepts

Photo from Twitter State. Rep. Senfronia Thompson, center, receives a proclamation during an auditorium dedication in her name on April 24 at Booker T. Washington High School, from where she graduated in 1972.

and correct your plan in order to connect these pieces which allowed you to do an amazing job here today.” Houston City Council member Karla Cisneros, who represents Independence Heights and has a daughter who graduated from Washington in 2005, echoed the sentiment. “There is a tradition, a history, a legacy of excellence coming out of this school,” she said. Included in the project will be education spaces, park signs and lights along with the statue, which is slated for Phase 1 completion next year

and will cost an estimated $217,000. “I’m so impressed with your passion and creativity for the project,” Kenneth Morris, who is Washington’s great-great grandson, said in a virtual message to students. “I know Booker T. Washington would be proud of the work you are doing, and he would be humbled that you have chosen him and his legacy in this way.” ‘Leader of the little dogs’ What’s more, students said Thompson was one of the first to invest in them and “The Vision” project, raising

Local residents start support group for visually impaired By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

The year 2020 was difficult for a lot of people, including Mary Kathryn LeMaster. The 47-year-old Candlelight Park Plaza resident, who was diagnosed with a degenerative retinal disease when she was a teenager, said she lost a “really large chunk” of her eyesight last year. Her field of vision is now less than 15 percent in each eye, LeMaster said, so she has stopped driving and started learning how to use a cane in anticipation of further vision loss. But LeMaster, a wife and mother who works as a wellness coach and teacher of yoga and meditation, is not feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she’s dedicated to helping others who cope with impaired vision. She and Garden Oaks resident Julie Hunt Sherber, whose 10-year-old daughter has the same eye disease, have teamed up to create a support

group called Eye See HOU. They hosted their first meeting last Sunday morning at Graham Park in Garden Oaks. LeMaster said beforehand that about 30 Houstonians who are blind or visually impaired were expected to gather, enjoy coffee and donuts and get to know each other. “I spent this past year relearning and trying to figure out how to live independently while losing my sight,” LeMaster said. “It’s really led me down this road of advocacy for anyone else who’s going through sight loss and navigating life with less vision than someone with a fully sighted life. “I’m on a mission,” she added. Sherber has been on her own mission since her daughter was diagnosed three years ago with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a rare genetic disorder that involves the breakdown of the retina and causes decreased vision at night and a loss of peripheral vision.

Sherber said she serves as cochair of the Houston chapter of Foundation Fighting Blindness, which funds research aimed at preventing, treating and curing retinal diseases such as RP. LeMaster said she and Sherber connected a few weeks ago through a support group on Facebook and quickly decided to launch their own inperson group. They are referring to members of Eye See HOU as “VIPs” – visually impaired people. “My mission has been to raise awareness and money for research, but then I realized I needed to do more,” Sherber said. “I wanted to cultivate a safe space in my local community for visually impaired families, somewhere where other parents like me can lean on each other, connect and help one another through the ups and downs of having a child with RP.” LeMaster said Foundation Fighting Blindness and medical professionals who treat eye

diseases have helped spread the word about the upstart support group, which plans to hold monthly get-togethers around Houston. She said visually impaired people of any age, along with their families and friends, are welcome to attend. Evolving into a fundraising organization is a possibility, LeMaster said, and she’s also considering holding virtual wellness classes for people coping with sight loss. For now, though, she and Sherber are focused on meeting other Houstonians with impaired vision, sharing their experiences and resources, and allowing new relationships to blossom. “I want us to not just have community, but I want us to have fun together,” LeMaster said. “I want us to really educate each other, really laugh, and I want us to do creative, interesting things throughout the city.” For more information, email eyeseehou@gmail.com.

more than $37,000 toward its completion – an admission of trust, which the students said they appreciated. “We thank you for letting us know that there is an opportunity here beyond these walls,” Washington senior Serena Eldridge said. According to those in attendance, that is simply who Thompson is and has been since first being elected to the Texas House in 1972. She is known to some in the legislature as “Mrs. T.” and “The Dean,” in her push for human trafficking legislation, equal pay, prosecution of hate crimes as well as healthcare and criminal justice reform, according to Miles. And to those in Houston and the Washington community, she is affectionately known as “leader of the little dogs,” a reference to her being on the forefront of fighting for the younger generation of students in the state and in Houston. Many said her donation toward the community plaza project is simply a continuation of that passion. “Those are the things that resonate with me – the things you don’t necessarily see in the legislation, but demonstrate why she does what she does with the passion with which she does it,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “The investments you’ve made in

these students will come back to you over and over again. ... You fight for the little dogs, and you fight for a whole lot of folks.” Several speakers echoed Turner’s sentiment. “There’s no doubt in my mind I’m a better person and senator because I’ve had the opportunity to work with Rep. Thompson,” Whitmire said. “Mrs. Thompson, some of your better years are still yet to come.” Added Miles: “It’s an honor to have her name associated with Booker T. Washington and with this particular campus.” At the end of the ceremony Eldridge, referenced a quote from Washington that reads: “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than to be in bad company.” From the sheer number of speakers on her behalf – which along with Whitmire, Turner and Miles included other dignitaries such as U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, multiple administrators and students – to the comments themselves, it was clear Thompson’s impact will continue to be felt at Washington and beyond for years to come. “It is evident that Mrs. Thompson is that quality you seek to be around,” Eldridge said.

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WEDNESDAYS @ 1:00pm Join us for Mother’s Day Worship - Words of Wisdom Sunday, May 9th at THURSDAYS @ 10:00am 10:17 am in - Chapel Time for Tots 2 Teens the Sanctuary or on our SUNDAYS @ 10:17am Facebook page - In-person and Facebook Worship www.facebook.com/stmatthewsunitedmethodistchurch 4300 N. Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX 77018 713-697-0671

HISD reopens playgrounds, to allow outdoor graduation ceremonies By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

School is not yet out for summer, but it might feel that way for Houston ISD students. The district announced April 23 that all its school playgrounds would reopen, effectively immediately, and recess would again be permitted. HISD also said in-person outdoor graduation ceremonies will be permitted this year, with limited attendance and an event safety plan, along

with select end-of-year celebrations for students only. Campus playgrounds had been closed since the local onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, when HISD shifted to virtual, off-campus learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. HISD has been offering in-person and remote learning during the 2020-21 school year, while school sports and other extracurricular activities have resumed. Masks and social distancing

will continue to be required inside all HISD schools, buildings and buses, the district said, and students must wear masks during recess and while using playground equipment in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. According to HISD’s COVID-19 dashboard, a district with more than 196,000 students and 27,000 staff members had a total of 3,462 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. There were 155 active cases, including 114 among

St. Pius X names new academic dean By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

St. Pius X High School has announced the appointment of Holly Meyer as the new Dean of Academics beginning with the 2021-22 school year. Meyer will serve as an instructional leader by collaborating with Principal Rachel Ware to enrich the school’s academic curriculum and offerings and recruit and retain the most dynamic educators, according to a news release from the private school at 811 W. Donovan St. “Holly is a truly innovative

educator with a depth of experience and an undeniable passion for serving youth,” Ware said. “Her expertise in curriculum and instruction, coupled with her ability to build relationships with staff, parents, students and community members will benefit St. Pius X High School. I look forward to working with her as we build upon the strengths of our school and ensure every student is given an exceptional educational experience.” Most recently, Meyer worked as an instructional coach, math consultant and academic dean in Richmond,

California. She also was a curriculum writer for Teach for America, working in tandem with Dallas ISD. Meyer is a graduate of Yale University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and received a master’s degree in educational psychology from Baylor’s School of Education. “After thoroughly researching St. Pius X High School, I look forward to joining this community,” Meyer said. “I am excited to serve at a school that values diversity and is committed to social justice, service and advocacy.”

City accepting walk-ins at vaccination sites By Adam Zuvanich azuvanich@theleadernews.com

Starting Monday, the Houston Health Department is accepting walk-ins at all of its free COVID-19 vaccination sites, including two in the area, and is extending hours of operation at some sites. First doses of the Moderna vaccine, approved for people who are at least 18 years old, will be distributed from 10

a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, 8:30 a.m.4:20 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at La Nueva Casa de Amigos Health Center, located at 1809 North Main St. Moderna doses also are available at the health department’s two mass vaccination sites, including Delmar Stadium at 2020 Mangum Rd., from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. Weekday hours for the Delmar

site and Rodeo Reed Parking Lot, 2098 Reed Rd., can be found at houstonemergency. org/covid19. Residents also can make vaccination appointments at the aforementioned website or by calling 832-393-4220 or 832-393-4301. The health department said in a news release that appointments are “preferred” even though walkins are welcome.

students. The local HISD campuses with active cases were Heights (one student), Scarborough (one student) and Waltrip (two staff) high schools, Frank Black (three students), Clifton (one staff) and Hamilton (one student) middle schools and Browning (one student), Oak Forest (one student), Smith (one staff) and Travis (two students) elementary schools.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • Page 5A

Trees, from P. 1A winter and open at the new site in August 2022, has distributed about 20,000 free trees per year to neighborhoods, schools, parks and other locales. It aims to boost its production to 100,000 trees per year within the next five years. The Trees For Houston mission is to help beautify the city while increasing habitat for wildlife and combatting flooding, pollution and climate change, since trees store carbon and release oxygen. The education center on the property will serve schools and other community members who want to learn about planting trees and their benefits. “We don’t want to just give trees away,” said Larry Nettles, co-chair of Taking Root, the capital campaign created by Trees For Houston. “We want people to know how to plant them

and take care of them.” The organization’s impending expansion has been made possible by significant financial contributions from prominent members of the Houston community. The Kinder Foundation provided a $3 million gift and will be the namesake of the property, which will be called the Kinder Campus. The office building will be named after Kyle and John Kirksey, Sr., who donated $1 million; the tree nursey will be named after Chevron, which donated $750,000; and the Bauer Education Center will be named after the Ruth and Ted Bauer Family Foundation and C.T. Bauer Foundation, which donated $500,000. Ward said an anonymous donor purchased the property two years ago on behalf of Trees

For Houston, holding it until the organization could raise enough money to buy it. Aztec Rental Center was previously located there. “We’re extremely grateful,” Ward said. “There are a number of keystones in terms of making this project possible. That was one of them.” Nettles said Trees For Houston was initially concerned about being able to raise enough money to support its vision for the 34th Street property, because the capital campaign started March 12, 2020 – a day after the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo was called off, signaling the local onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But there ended up being no negative impact on the fundraising effort, with Nettles saying it’s a sign that Houstonians believe in the nonprofit’s mission.

Trees For Houston is now asking members of the public to contribute another $2.3 million, which will help cover the cost of construction and give the organization money it can set aside for maintenance. Donations can be made online at treesforhouston.org. Ward and Nettles hope residents of the Oak Forest, Garden Oaks and Heights areas will contribute to Trees For Houston, which has distributed trees throughout the region over the years. Ward said the nonprofit’s trees line White Oak Bayou and also are located in places such as Candlelight Park and the esplanade on East T.C. Jester Boulevard in Shady Acres. Trees For Houston now calls the area home. “We’re looking forward to becoming neighbors,” Ward said. “It’s an excellent location.”

Legislation, from P. 1A 1646, which would classify transition care for those under 18 — including puberty-suppression drugs, cross-sex hormones and surgery or other medical procedures for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment — as child abuse. The bill initially passed in the Texas Senate this week by an 18-13 vote and was expected to go to a final Senate vote after press time Wednesday. The proposed legislation would need to also pass in the House to become law. Intersex children with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male, estimated by a 2019 study in the Journal of the Endocrine Society to be 1 in 1,000 births, would not be denied treatment under the proposed law. Bettencourt’s office did not respond to requests for comment. According to the Mayo Clinic, the American Psychiatric Association recognizes gender dysphoria. It is defined as the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics. Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops issued a public statement in support of SB 1646, saying the church “cares for those who experience gender dysphoria. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination toward them should be avoided.” However, the statement also said the bill protects children because “socalled ‘gender-affirming’ therapies do not help children to harmonize such inclinations and attractions within the broader context of integral personal development.” Alison Mohr Boleware, a representative with the Texas chapter of the

National Association of Social Workers, said her organization is concerned the bill and its redefinition of child abuse would negatively impact the mental health of children and the ability of professionals to provide care. “If we are fearful that a conversation could be considered gender-affirming care and must be considered child abuse, this would really harm a therapeutic relationship between a social worker and their client,” Boleware said. “We are also worried about what this symbolizes for LGBTQ Texans. We want them to feel safe talking to a mental health professional about anything.” Local residents advocate A local resident who has made multiple trips to Austin this session is Mandy Giles, a Garden Oaks mother with two children who identify as nonbinary, defined as a gender identity that is neither male nor female. Many non-binary people use the pronouns they/them instead of she/ her or he/him. Giles’ child, Indigo, is one of them. “I like to think of it as there are more than two genders,” Giles said. “Gender is not along a straight line, (but) more of a 3D infinite universe.” Still, when Indigo became the first of her children to come out to her and husband Neil, it was an ongoing process of understanding. “When Indigo was 14, they realized they were not a girl, but it was a while before they found the language that felt right,” Giles said. “The misconception is that it is a fad. My husband and I thought the same thing. We didn’t know any transgender people, but as we talked to our child more, talked to transgender adults, and learned more, we found that this was very real.”

The depression Indigo experienced was serious and abated as they were able to affirm their gender identity. At 17, Indigo had gender-affirming surgery. “With each step, we saw a different person,” Giles said. “Indigo was more confident. There was a light in their eyes.” As Indigo, now a freshman in college, said during their testimony against SB 1646 and Senate Bill 1311, which would criminalize doctors for transition care, “I finally recognized the person in the mirror.” As Giles notes, every transgender child is different as is their experience. Not all involve surgery. But for those that do, she said it is an integral part of the journey. “For a lot of kids these are not elective procedures,” she said. ‘Let them get to 18’ During testimony at an April committee meeting, State Sen. Bob Hall, the author of SB 1311, said the matter is a religious and moral issue for him. “Every single child is created in the image of God, (and) altering a healthy, completely natural part of His creation in such a mutilating way is morally and ethically wrong as it carries dire consequences for the children involved,” he said. Hall’s assertion that “there is a natural cure for real or perceived gender dysphoria, and it is called puberty,” is something that was echoed by the four people who testified to the committee on behalf of SB 1646 and SB 1311. They cited the same report referred to by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops – a study by the 500-member American College of Pediatricians (ACP), formed in 2002 by a group of doctors who branched off from the

executive director of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family & Culture, who supports both bills. Quiñones counters that mental health for transgender individuals is strongly influenced by access to social and medical transitioning and says hormone therapy and surgery reduces rates of suicide by 40 percent in trans individuals. She also cited a study by the National Institutes of Health that found suicide rates for trans individuals did not increase after surgery. “The American Psychiatric Association has condemned policies that limit access to these services that lead to improved mental health for transgender individuals,” Quiñones said. Dr. Marjan Linnell, who testified against both bills as a representative of the Texas Medical Association, said “organized medicine stands strongly united against both bills” and that no medical or surgical treatment is used until after the onset of puberty. Linnell said puberty-suppression treatments have been used safely for decades to delay early puberty and are reversible. She said that while hormones may cause some permanent changes, there is consultation about this step between a doctor and family. “Gender dysphoria is a medical diagnosis, and it is up to the provider, patient and parents/guardians to do what is in the best interest of the individual based on their medical, psychological and social needs,” Quiñones said. In her testimony, Anna Eastman told the Senate she and her family were the lucky ones as they had the opportunity to open their minds and hearts. She urged lawmakers to do the same. “But if you will not, please just stay out of our business and allow us to make decisions in the best interest of our children,” she said.

60,000-plus member American Association of Pediatrics after it endorsed same-sex adoption. The ACP study claims that when gender dysphoria occurs in a pre-pubertal child, it resolves in 80-95 percent of patients by late adolescence. Areana Quiñones, the executive director of Houston-based Doctors for Change, said there are a few studies that get cited with this statistic. “Most clinicians will reply that the studies were flawed because they did not ask the right questions and they made conclusions based on a limited understanding of gender dysphoria versus social gender,” Quiñones said. State Sen. Charles Perry, who authored SB 1646, said he recognized the medical issue is personal and sensitive for families. “(Medical intervention) limits all options going forward where (children) would be better served, better informed and understand and make those decisions,” Perry said in committee. Perry and Hall reiterated that once an individual reaches the legal age of adulthood, they could pursue gender reassignment. “Let them get to 18,” Hall said. Parents want autonomy While both sides of the issue presented evidence that transgender children experienced higher rates of depression and suicide, they differ on their opinions as to why. Proponents of the bills prohibiting any kind of gender reassignment say therapy alone is enough to improve mental health outcomes, while hormones and therapy make things worse. “It is not a question that these kids are suffering, but what is an appropriate treatment?” asked Kevin E. Stuart,

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Page 6A • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • The Leader

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The Leader • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • Page 7A

Art Valet: ‘Bug Boys’ go outside box with butterflies Mitch Cohen Art Columnist

Educating potential customers about the hows, whats and whys can be an important selling tool for artists. For Ruben Salazar and Tristan Erickson, owners of Bug in The Box, soothing one’s phobias and misconceptions is just as important. The primary medium behind Bug in The Box, in addition to beautiful butterflies, includes spiders, bees, wasps, beetles and all manner of crawling and flying insects. Salazar and Erickson make ethically sourced, preserved exotic butterflies and insects as art in shadow frames and boxes. The insects come from sanctuaries around the

world after they have died naturally. The duo started Bug in The Box seven years ago and work full-time from their studio in Sawyer Yards. Salazar is the creative behind the boxed Lepidopteras (butterflies and moths) and insects. Erickson helps with designing pieces, sales and social media. Interestingly, in today’s movement toward ecological preservation and restoration, purchasing a Bug in The Box may help save our world’s diminishing rainforests. “Raising or collecting insects to sell is the only incentive many indigenous peoples have to save their tropical forests,” Salazar states on his company website. “Villagers plant caterpillar food plants and sell the adult butterflies that develop on those ‘extra’ food plants (a process known as ‘butterfly ranching.’) Villagers realize that the forest can be a continual source of

Contributed photo Bug in The Box owners Ruben Salazar and Tristan Erickson specialize in artistic insect arrangements.

income. “That gives them great incentive to protect their areas,” Salazar continued.

“Money earned pays for children’s schooling, medicine and simple living needs. They now have cash crops of

butterflies which do not require forest clearing and land destruction.” I met the duo at least five years ago, and have enjoyed and been inspired by their progress in both the art form and business. They’ve expanded from the weekly popups to a place of business, graced the covers of local magazines, and Bug in The Box is available in the gift shop at Houston Museum of Natural Science. For three years, Salazar tells me. He and Erickson told me in 2018 that they planned to travel to different parts of the world and learn about new butterflies and insects. “We have been to Costa Rica and visited butterfly farms out there and went on jungle treks,” Salazar said. “We saw lots of cool insects out there. We were planning another trip, this time to Peru and had everything booked right before the pandemic hit, but we had to cancel that. So

next trip is Peru for sure.” Salazar and Erickson also plan to expand beyond Texas by doing shows in places such as Atlanta, Colorado and Las Vegas. “We just bought a new house this year so getting everything nice and decorated has big one of the recent big plans we just accomplished,” Salazar said. Friends often refer to Salazar and Erickson affectionately as “The Bug Boys.” You can find them on Second Saturday Open Studios at The Silos At Sawyer Yards, Studio #127, 1502 Sawyer St., online at buginthebox. net and this Saturday at First Saturday Arts Market at 530 W. 19th St. Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

Review: Fainmous brings Tennessee BBQ to Texas By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

I’ve been looking forward to trying Fainmous BBQ since its move from the Meyerland area to Sawyer Yards. With Texas-style barbecue reigning in the area, the Tennessee-style smoked meat Fainmous specializes in should have been able to stand out on its own. And it did. I knew I had to try the pulled pork, which is usually the star of the show in Tennessee barbecue rather than brisket, the main focus in Texas. I ordered the sliders with pulled pork. It came with two mini buns packed with pulled pork. I also grabbed a two-meat plate with ribs and pulled chicken with baked beans and potato salad on the side. There was a good amount of both meats on the plate. I was able to share it with another person. To round out the meal, I got the pineapple tea and a

portion of the apple cobbler. Everything was packaged in Styrofoam to-go containers. It must have been the norm, since I wasn’t asked whether I was dining in or out. It took a few more minutes than expected for the food to be plated. Even though it was just after noon, none of the meat was prepped. Most of it was still wrapped and waiting in a warmer behind the counter. I settled on a picnic bench outside the restaurant to enjoy the meal. I first sipped on the pineapple tea and instantly fell in love with it. The sweet tangy flavors of the pineapple were subdued by the team making it not overly sweet. The buns covering the pulled pork were soft. The meat inside was tender, a common theme with all of the meat I tried during this lunch. The smoky and savory pork had a melt-in-yourmouth texture. After my first

few bites I decided to try it with the barbecue sauce. The barbecue sauces at Fainmous are vinegar-based, which I thought gave the sauce more savory undertones. It made a good addition to the pulled pork. The meat of the ribs pulled easily off the bone. The crust of the meat was full of seasoning and had a really nice smoked hickory flavor. These were the kind of ribs I would be happy eating all the time. While there was nothing different about the pulled chicken compared to other barbecue places, it was still a solid selection. The chicken was tender and had a more subtle smokiness. It would have done well in a sandwich. My lunch partner took over the potato salad, but said it was just OK. I ate the baked beans, and instead on being met with beans that held a slight sweetness, I found these to have an earthy, almost nutty, palate. The cobbler was full of ap-

Photo by Zarah Parker Pictured is the two-meat plate with ribs and pulled chicken and a side of potato salad and baked beans, along with pulled pork sliders from Fainmous BBQ.

ples and cinnamon with just the right amount of crust. The barbecue at Fainmous definitely impressed me. I just wish the atmosphere and service had as well. It felt like the person working behind the counter wasn’t ready for any customers when I walked in, so the atmosphere of the

space didn’t seem inviting. But Fainmous does a lot of catering and takeout, so I can forgive some of that, especially since the food held up to a high standard. Fainmous BBQ Address: 1201 Oliver St.

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday Pricing: $9-$18.99 Kid-friendly: Yes Alcohol: No Healthy options: No Star of the show: Pulled pork sliders

I had to fish in Alaska to appreciate seafood Zarah Parker Managing Editor

When I landed in Alaska on an August evening a few years ago, the sun was still high in the sky and would be for most of the night. I was on this trip with a small group of family and our plans were to RV up the one main highway in Alaska and cut over to Canada before coming back into the state to fish. The first week of our adventure was full of rolling hills of different shades of green, sporadically overcast by low clouds. Occasionally we’d spot a distant bear or a soaring bird. But it wasn’t until that second week in Alaska that we were on the bottom coast, waking up at 7 a.m. in Homer to jump on a boat to fish halibut. What I didn’t know was that my appreciation for fish would grow after catching my own. Out on the water I got to experience different wildlife: the tails of whales slipping above the water and otters on their backs holding hands.

Growing up with only older brothers did nothing for my fishing skills, but luckily halibut fishing is as easy as dropping a heavy line to hit the floor of the water and waiting for one to bite. Yet easy as it was, I remember the guy next to me shooting me a glare as if it was my fault his line managed to wrap around mine. The limit of our catch for the day was two halibut, and we were out on the water two days. We ended up with four halibut. Halibut aren’t pretty. They’re flat with both eyes on one side of the body. Green on its top side and white on the bottom, the fish didn’t do much for my appetite. But then I watched how the helpers on the boat, who were no older than 17, unhooked the halibut for the fishermen on the boat, killed the fish and later as the boat sped for the docks, sliced the fish guts and bones out of the fish with such ease I couldn’t help but be fascinated. I even got to hold a halibut heart as it continued to beat outside of the body it once inhabited. Before this trip, eating fish

Contributed photo Zarah Parker holds her halibut catch off the coast of Homer, Alaska.

wasn’t a common thing in my family. It just wasn’t a popular dish with my parents. After pulling up my own two halibut that first day of fishing, two more the next, and watching the process of what came after, I suddenly cared a lot more for what happened to the meat of the fish once we packed it up and shipped it to Texas. I went from fishing because

my uncle had signed me up, to fishing because it made me care a lot more about the animal. And that only grew when we left Homer and made our way to the bank of the Susitna River. For the next three days we would be waking at 5 a.m. to fish for salmon. Our limit was three salmon per day. After the first day, I wanted to quit. Not only did waking up

at 5 a.m. feel just about terrible, I was so cold on the river I ended up in two pairs of pants, in all the sweaters I brought, plus a rain jacket, pants and boots. I was still cold. I continued with it and was glad in the end to have done so. Salmon fishing required a little more skill than halibut and I often found myself as the last person on our little boat who hadn’t caught their limit. Cast, wait, reel in, re-bait, cast again. It was a process. I caught a few zombie salmon, which are salmon that are literally rotting to death and yes they are in fact very creepy to have on your line. But feeling that light tug on the rod and reeling in a fighting fish is more satisfying than I thought it would be. I understand now why it is a popular pastime. We would finish up around noon or 1 p.m. and our river

guide would take the salmon and slice away at it before we headed back to our RV. The week went by quickly and by the time we were waiting on the plane to come back to Houston, I smelled as if I was a fish because I wore all my clothes out on the river. Somehow we managed to fly our box of fish to Houston and it was still safe to eat once we got there (the Houston airport doesn’t have a freezer to keep things like this). We had more halibut and salmon then we knew what to do with, but we gifted some away. When we would cook the pieces at home, I found that I held a deeper appreciation for the fish, much like how many hunters feel about the animals they shoot. It’s a type of honoring that I think everyone should understand if they eat animals.

Food briefs: BCK shutting down operations By Zarah Parker zarah@theleadernews.com

BCK, 933 Studewood St., recently announced via its Instagram page that it would be ceasing operations Friday. The Heights spot originally opened serving nostalgic foods with elevated twists, like Spaghetti-Os. Over the last three years the restaurant refocused its menu, eventually pivoting to specialty burgers. In the Instagram post, CEO John Reed said that while this

concept is closing, the company would soon be announcing a new concept. It will not be located in the same space. Trailer park-themed bar coming to Washington Drinks served out of Spam cans and a menu featuring Twinkies and Cheez Whiz will soon make an appearance on Washington Avenue. Fat Boots Trailer Park Bar will open May 5 at 4218 Washington Ave., according to Cul-

tureMap. The bar will feature singing and dancing staff who will encourage patrons to sing along and participate in drinking games. While the Houston location is the first of the concept, there are already plans of expansion to Las Vegas and New Orleans. New brews coming to area Ovinnik Brewing has been in the works for over a year. It will soon take root at 7201

Wynnpark Dr. in the Timbergrove area. The brewing outpost will add to the handful of craft beer options in the area. According to an Instagram post, the space was supposed to open in the first quarter of this year. The brewery’s logo of a black cat with three eyes fits the name Ovinnik, which is a Slavic mythological creature that appears as a black cat that threatens to burn barns down if it’s not fed.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • Page 8A

Crenshaw recovering from retinal surgery Police seek help identifying By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, whose District 2 includes parts of the Greater Heights, is “hopeful and confident” for a return to normal following his retinal surgery earlier this month. “(Wife) Tara and I are doing well thanks to the generous prayers and support, for which

we are so grateful,” Crenshaw said in a statement posted to his Twitter account April 23. We’ve been through harder times before, and we are going to get through this.” Crenshaw, a Republican who was elected to a second two-year term last November, said he is still in the early stages of recovery from the procedure, but that the surgery went well with no complications.

“My congressional offices in Houston and Washington, D.C. continue to function as normal and I am staying up to date on legislation in the House, but I still will not be posting to social media or conducting interviews for the time being,” he wrote. “I am focusing on my recovery so I can be back to 100 percent as soon as possible.”

Leads sought in fatal local shooting By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

Houston police have released surveillance photos in connection with the fatal shooting of a man in the area last week. The victim’s identity is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, according to the Houston Police Department. HPD said officers responded to a call at 5300 Deep Forest Dr. about 12:15 p.m. April 25 to find the victim dead with multiple apparent gunshot wounds. HPD said eyewitnesses

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Houston police have released a composite sketch of the suspect in a fatal apartment shooting in Greater Inwood last weekend. The suspect, described by police as a Black man in his 30s with a medium build, is wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of 42-year-old Harold Bradford on April 25, according to the Houston Police Department. Police said officers responded to a call at Diamond Ridge Apartments at 6407 Antoine Dr. around 2:30 p.m. April 25 to find Bradford dead in the parking lot with at least one gunshot wound. HPD said there is not a known motive

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told investigators the victim parked his car on the street when he was approached by a black Cadillac Escalade, ranging in year model from 2002 to 2006, and shot while

standing next to his car. Anyone with information in this case is asked to call HPD’s Homicide division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-223-8477.

Community members can get a free Pfizer vaccination dose at an area church this weekend. This Saturday, May 1, St. John Northwest Church at 6696 Antoine Dr. near Greater Inwood will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic

on the church grounds in the White Oak Bayou Shopping Center from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for residents who are at least 16 years old. The event is free of charge, and no insurance is required to receive the vaccine. Community members can pre-register for the clinic online at form.jotform.com/210875962088164, but walk-ups on the day of the event are welcome and will be served.

Bob, from P. 1A Those who wish to donate can do so online at cypressluckymuttrescue.org. Not every local resident is a fan of Bob’s, and some are likely glad he has been removed from the area. He had become a point of contention during the last two years, with some describing Bob as a danger to the community. A Garden Oaks resident wrote on Facebook in April 2019 that Bob had shown aggression toward her children while they were playing in their front yard. Some Shepherd Park Plaza residents wrote on Facebook earlier this year that Bob and a brown dog were chasing neighborhood residents while they jogged. Mears said a request to pick up Bob and Rowdy, who had mostly been staying at a scrapyard north of Pinemont Drive, was first made in February and again in early March. He said animal

control officers visited the area 13 times before finally locating and impounding the dogs, with Bob being sedated by two tranquilizer darts. ‘Matter of time’ Gleghorn said she and other local animal advocates who have looked after Bob over the years “knew it was a matter of time before they got him.” Bob and Rowdy had been confined to the scrapyard for a period of time, beginning last year, but Gleghorn said they started getting out of the yard and the fence on the property was not fixed by the owner. “Unfortunately, they were scared that something was going to happen,” Gleghorn of the residents who wanted Bob removed from the neighborhood. “If people are scared of a dog, they’re scared of a dog. Part of us can say,

‘Don’t worry, he’s not going to bite you,’ but that’s not fair. We understand that.” Gleghorn said she was worried Bob would be put down upon being caught by animal control, because his aversion to humans has been so pronounced and seemingly ingrained. Mears said Bob was first impounded by BARC in 2012, and subsequently adopted, but the organization was later told by the owner that Bob ran away a few weeks after the adoption, and the owner declined to take him back. After being picked up last week, though, Gleghorn said the folks at BARC were able to put a leash on Bob and coax him to move toward them, even though he was visibly frightened. So she is encouraged Bob can be rehabilitated to the point he can be adopted, or at least placed at an animal sanctuary where he can spend his se-

nior years. Mears said Bob is estimated to be 9 years old and weighs a little less than 50 pounds. “There’s going to be a solution one way or the other. He’s not going to be put down,” Gleghorn said. “Based on what I’ve seen the last few days at BARC, I’m cautiously optimistic for his outcome.” Along those lines, even though his recent capture has been harrowing for Gleghorn and other supporters of Bob, she said it’s “the best thing that ever could have happened for all involved.” Because instead of roaming the streets, where he could be bothering residents or risk being harmed himself, he is now in a safe, secure place. He just will no longer be in the Garden Oaks and Oak Forest areas, where many residents became enamored

with him over the years. Gleghorn said Bob’s allure might have been a product of his elusiveness. She and other animal rescuers tried to trap him several times or get close enough to pet him, but to no avail. “We’ve talked about that, what has made Bob touch so many people,” Gleghorn said. “I think it’s his independent spirit, but also his perseverance and being able to adapt to what we might not think is the ideal situation for him, but makes him happy in his own way with the people he chooses and the places he chooses to be. It’s that story of that dog that never gave up and did his own thing. “There will never be another Bob,” she added.

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The Leader • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • Page 1B

Kidcreate Studio to open in Stomping Grounds By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Oak Forest’s Jennifer Collins, who with husband, Brian, is opening Kidcreate Studio in Garden Oaks’ Stomping Grounds, said her family has always been artsy. “Our home is filled with arts and crafts,” Collins said. “It started as a time filler for the kids during COVID, but it is also very therapeutic for a high-anxiety time in our lives, like a global pandemic.” Kidscreate Studio is a space for kids that offers art classes, camps and art-themed birthday parties. Projects run the gamut of the art spectrum with drawing, painting, clays, mixed media and more. Collins said there is an education component, too, as the projects focus on a particular artist or technique. “We call the education component ‘Kidbits,’ ” she said. “The complexity of the projects grows by age. Art also encourages children to take risks and feel safe doing it.” Kidscreate Studio at Stomping Grounds, located on the south side of West 34th Street west of Alba Road, will be the first franchise location in Houston. The couple anticipates starting construction on their 1,200 square foot space in the next six weeks with a target opening date of late summer. They will be located upstairs next to Tulum Wellness Spa. Jennifer will serve as the managing owner. Brian, an Air Force veteran with an executive MBA who works as the vice president and general manager for a private equity oil and gas company, is the Kidcreate financial officer. While a lot of the classes will happen on location, Jennifer Collins said they will also have a mobile business model, called On-the-Go, to bring art to schools, childcare, parks and other organizations. “It is common for organizations to book an in-house field trip,” Collins said. “We provide amazing teachers and their choice of project and materials. Then we pack up and clean up the mess.” Collins, who is a Waltrip High School graduate, is excited to open a business in her own neighborhood.

Contributed photo Brian Collins, right, and his wife, Jennifer, are the owners of a Kidcreate Studio that will open later this year on West 34th Street. At left are their children.

She said when she and Brian met the team at Revive, the commercial real estate firm that developed Stomping Grounds, the “synergies aligned.” “We are on board to help create a family-based environment,” Collins said. “Our focus is to be Oak Forest’s leading enrichment program, providing opportunities to develop the whole child, focusing on art educa-

tion and creation. We know that creating art supports almost all developmental areas in children from motor skills and self-expression to problemsolving and sensory output.” A former loss-prevention executive who became a director at Pace Preparatory Academy after her sons were born, Collins said she loved the operational piece of her role at Pace

as well as watching the smiles of the students as they learned new things and mastered different activities. “After the boys moved on to elementary school, we knew we were ready for another chapter,” Collins said. Initially the couple considered opening a fitness franchise in the Heights, but a suggestion from Col-

Houston Dance Works celebrates decade-long run in neighborhood

lins’ all-knowing smartphone set them on a different path. “When the ad came up for Kidcreate Studio, we immediately knew this is what we’ve been waiting for,” she said. “It was a perfect combination of our family dynamic and corporate backgrounds.” For more information, visit https://kidcreate.com/houston.

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Houston Dance Works (HDW) owner Autumn Rosemond has come a long way since June 2011, when she hosted its first classes in the Candlelight Community Center. “We started with 20 kids at that first class and built from the ground up,” Rosemond said. “We continuously grew.” The studio moved to the former Third Coast Theater until it outgrew that space, and then to classroom space at 3500 E. T.C. Jester Blvd. Over time, Rosemond has since doubled the space at that location and helped 3,000 students pursue their dance goals. Still, she says she is mindful of growing organically. “I never wanted to lose touch with our families by doing too much too soon,” she said. For the first six years of the studio’s existence, Rosemond also kept her day job as a data analyst. A dancer from age 3, Rosemond danced in college at Texas State and taught classes, too. However, she majored in finance because she knew that she wanted to own a studio someday and needed to understand how business worked. After dancing professionally in her early 20s, Rosemond opened the studio with her husband when she was 25. “I always had a business plan, but I never imagined that I’d be where I am now,” she said. Houston Dance Works now employs 18 staff members. The studio saw a drop in students due to COVID-19, but Rosemond said she anticipates numbers will pick back up. HDW also has a competitive dance team comprised of three levels. “Our competitive dancers are very close,” Rosemond said. “They dance quite often and do very well.” Before the pandemic, Rosemond had a number of plans

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Contributed photo Houston Dance Works owner Autumn Rosemond and her dance company, stationed at 3500 E. T.C. Jester Blvd., are celebrating 10 years in business this year.

to mark the studio’s 10th anniversary, but she has since modified those. One of the culminating events for students at Houston Dance Works is a recital at the University of Houston’s Cullen Performance Hall each spring. This year there will be a modified version of the recital in the same location. “When I was growing up, we always had these grand recitals,” Rosemond said. “I was always on top of the world. Dance did a lot for my confidence. I want to give that special feeling to the students every year, too.” Moving forward, Rosemond said she would like to explore adding an additional location of the studio, although she always wants to maintain a presence in the neighborhood. An area resident, Rosemond now has three children of her own, two of whom are old enough

to take dance classes. “I love Oak Forest and Garden Oaks,” she said. Area dancers feel the same about Houston Dance Works. Heights High School student Aubrey Carter has danced at the studio for most of her life. “It’s hard to put into words how much HDW shaped my life,” Carter said. “But from kindergarten to now in ninth grade, Houston Dance Works has been committed to helping me grow and improve, and their faculty is caring and supportive.” Megan Rasmussen signed up her daughter, Tracey, after watching her perform around the house and Googling “dance classes 77018.” Tracey has been at Houston Dance Works ever since and performs competitively, as does Carter. “I love my team and we are all one big family,” Tracey said.

“We work so well together.” For more information, visit Houston Dance Works at https://www.houstondanceworks.com/.

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Page 2B • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • The Leader

Casa Ramirez hosting virtual events for holidays By Stefan Modrich news@theleadernews.com

Since the death of her husband, Macario Ramirez, last June, Chrissie Dickerson Ramirez has pledged to keep the Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery at 241 W. 19th St. open with the same passion as when Macario founded the gallery 37 years ago. While this year’s series of Casa Ramirez celebrations commemorating El Dia de los Niños (Children’s Day) on Friday and Cinco de Mayo from Saturday through May 8 will be unlike any in the gallery’s history, she believes it will be true to Macario’s intent, a collaborative effort to promote literacy and espouse the “rich cultural heritage” of Mexico. “We look at the time as a time to recognize and honor the culture that comes from Mexico, Texas and the Southwest, from Mexican-Americans,” Dickerson Ramirez

said. “You could say one of his goals was to continue to bring it to people’s attention and to recognize it and don’t forget it.” Beginning Friday, Casa Ramirez will host a series of virtual book readings on Facebook Live featuring friends and staff of Casa Ramirez who will read from their favorite cultural children’s book and discuss its significance. All of the activities are family-friendly and free to attend. The books will have a special focus on elements of Latino culture ranging from the history of Cinco de Mayo and folklore to books about food and Lotería, a Mexican bingo game. Casa Ramirez will also have a Cinco de Mayo exhibit with print materials explaining the history of the famous battle of the Mexican Army against France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. All of the readings will be-

Contributed photo Chrissie Dickerson Ramirez, owner of Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery, displays a book at the shop.

gin at 11:30 a.m., the first of which is set for Friday and the others to follow on May 2 and May 5-8. Dickerson Ramirez will host the first reading, with

an overview of El Dia de los Niños and an emphasis on the importance of play and laughter. Martha Almaguera, a staff member at Casa Ramirez, will

read “¡Hola Jalapeno!” a popular title Dickerson Ramirez said they have carried for several years. “It’s a fun rhyme on food, and we’ve sold a lot of them

over the years,” Dickerson Ramirez said. “Martha has several children and she’s the cook in her family, so it’s a good one for her to pick out.” The subjects of the remaining book selections vary widely, including a folk tale, a book about food, shapes and colors, and a Frida Kahlo book aimed at toddlers. From noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Jesus Lozano and Maria Lozano of Bossa II will serenade Casa Ramirez and its visitors outside on the sidewalk to kick off their Cinco de Mayo celebrations with live music. The duo will also provide entertainment for the nearby Local Love Market, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month, and a Facebook Live stream of the performance will be available at 1:30 p.m. Attendees can email casa. ramirez@att.net or call 713880-2420 with questions about the events.

Business Briefs: Nutrition program launches in Oak Forest By Betsy Denson betsy@theleadernews.com

Timbergrove resident Kelley Davidson is a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and nutritionist who has launched RESTART — a fiveweek functional nutrition program that is part educational, part sugar detox and part support group. Sessions are held at Body Rock Pilates, 3502 Oak Forest Dr. Davidson creates fitness and nutrition plans tailored to individual needs. She says each human is an individual with unique dietary and movement needs, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. “My clients are getting energy back, better rest and drastically improved health,” Davidson said. “Plus, clothes fitting better is always a bonus of functional nutrition.” Registration for RESTART is

up and ready to view,” she said. “Come by and see all the great new styles that I’ve created.” Email jill@j-ellendesigns. com for more information.

$250 per participant. For more information and to register, call or text 281-413-9627 or email KelleyLloyd@msn.com. Body Rock moves to Oak Forest Drive Body Rock Pilates, formerly located at Ella Plaza, has moved to 3502 Oak Forest Dr. Voted as The Leader’s Readers’ Choice Award winner for Group Fitness for the past two years, Body Rock offers reformer Pilates classes designed to define, lengthen and strengthen muscles while building strength and flexibility. New clients are eligible for a first package of three classes for $39. Classes are limited to nine participants. For more information, visit https://bodyrockpilates. com/. Local clothing designer hosts trunk show

Contributed photo Timbergrove resident Kelley Davidson has launched the RESTART nutritional program.

Inwood Forest’s Jill Focke has been on the road a lot over the last four years as a wardrobe supervisor on tours with classic rock band Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. When she found herself with an unexpected hiatus from touring

Contributed photo Body Rock Pilates has moved from Ella Plaza to 3502 Oak Forest Dr.

due to COVID-19, Focke pivoted a bit. Focke has had a clothing label, J Ellen Designs, for years but recently is focusing more on her design work. Oak Forest’s Marcy Basile recently created a new website for Focke, jellendesigns.com, where cus-

tomers can order her pieces. She planned to host a trunk show at her home on Thursday and is also available for private showings. “The entire second floor of the new house is my workroom, complete with fitting area, and the racks are always

Treasures, tans, detox at Feathers + Thorns From 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Dr. Theresa Harring will be doing Botox and lip refreshers at Feathers + Thorns, 2107 W. 43rd St., next to MytiBurger. Owner Jenni Ferrell will also offer spray tans and have her jewelry collection available for purchase. Due to COVID-19, the patio will be open and social distancing measures will be in effect. For future events, visit Feathers + Thorns/Tanoholics Anonymous on Facebook and Instagram. If you have something for Business Briefs, please email betsy@theleadernews.com.

Northside cleanup event illustrates Houston need for maintaining bicycle lanes Storm By Adam Zuvanich

azuvanich@theleadernews.com

When Joe Cutrufo first started riding his bicycle around Houston, in December, he said he noticed that many protected bike lanes across the city were littered with trash and other debris. He saw leaves, pebbles and grass along with pieces of blownout tires, broken glass and oil containers. The new executive director of BikeHouston then realized that bike-lane maintenance was slipping through cracks in the proverbial pavement. “It’s one of those things where the average person riding a bike in Houston sees the amount of debris and probably wonders, ‘Why isn’t anyone cleaning this?’” Cutrufo said. “The reason is because the maintenance has just not been prioritized by the city.” With more and more Houstonians using bikes both for exercise and as a mode of transportation, and with plans for the region to add more

bike lanes in the coming years, BikeHouston called attention to the issue and helped do something about it on the morning of April 22. The nonprofit partnered with Houston City Council members Sallie Alcorn and Karla Cisneros, the Greater Northside Management District and more than 30 volunteers for an “Earth Day Bike Lane Clean-Up” in Northside Village, clearing the bike lanes on both sides of Cavalcade Street between Fulton Street to the west and Irvington Boulevard to the east. Cutrufo said the group shoveled, swept and raked enough debris to fill two or three 45-gallon bags at every street corner along the route. Cisneros, who represents the area as part of District H, was among those who put on a safety vest and helped. “This initiative helps draw attention to the importance of the maintenance of bike lanes,” Cisneros said in an email. “Though a maintenance plan is on the radar of Houston Public Works, it is an issue

Contributed photo Houston City Council member Karla Cisneros, left, participates in a bike-lane cleanup event on April 22 in Northside Village. The event was coordinated by the nonprofit BikeHouston.

that has not yet been resolved. As Houston adds more miles of lanes to the city’s bike infrastructure network, the need for implementing a system of maintenance also grows. I appreciate BikeHouston helping bring attention to this issue.” Cutrufo said he was “thrilled” with the turnout and what the volunteers were able to accomplish in a two-hour span. He said there is a need for bike-lane cleanup throughout the city, particularly in the

Northside area. But BikeHouston does not necessarily plan to service those bike lanes like it did the ones on Cavalcade. Cutrufo said Houstonians served by the nonprofit just want to be able to use them safely. “BikeHouston is not looking to get a contract with the city to continue to clean bike lanes. That’s not what we’re trying to do,” Cutrufo said. “We don’t expect the people who ride the bus to clean the buses. We don’t expect drivers to fill potholes. So it shouldn’t be the responsibility of Houstonians who ride bikes to clean the debris in bike lanes. “If we’re going to embrace the bicycle as a mode of transportation in Houston and not simply tolerate it,” he added, “we need to make sure we’re maintaining the bike network.”

Baseball

Houston Storm is looking for 9u-12u players to complete rosters for select teams in the Oak Forest/ Heights area. For more info email:

Coachron1118@gmail.com

281-639-4475 Ron Smith


The Leader • Saturday, May 1, 2021 • Page 3B

Take a hike! Plan ahead for outdoor doggy adventures hike.

Dear Tabby, We’re new dog owners and are excited to get out and explore the outdoors with our new addition! We both love hiking and are hoping to take our new dog hiking with us. What do we need to take with us to make sure that our dog is safe and happy? Hiking With Hounds in The Heights Dear Hiking With Hounds, Congratulations on your newest addition! The weather this time of the year is ripe for all outdoor activities and hiking is a super fun way to explore the outdoors with your dogs. Houston has a variety of hiking trails located within the city and most dogs love anything having to do with a walk, so you’re all sure to enjoy many fun hikes this spring. Here are a few things to consider before packing up and taking Fido along on a

Plan ahead If you’re planning to be hiking for longer than a typical walk around the block, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you and your dog might need to stay hydrated and healthy. Water is key, so pack a dog water bottle or a collapsible water bowl and plenty of fresh water for humans and pets alike. Unless you’re on an extended, overnight hike, don’t plan to feed your dog a large meal immediately before a hike or during a hike. Keep his meals small and short so his stomach doesn’t get upset from exercising on a full stomach. Make sure you pack plenty of poop bags as well, so you can clean up any messes your dog makes along the way. Hiking first aid It’s smart to be prepared for anything that might happen while on a hike, so add a small first-aid kit to your pack that can be used in case you or your pet encounters any hik-

ing maladies. Antihistamines are good to have on hand, in case of a bug bite (vets recommend 2 mg of antihistamine per pound of your pet’s body weight. Vets also advise to get gel caps that can be punctured and squeezed directly in your pet’s mouth, in case of a serious snake bite. Then seek medical care immediately). Also have on hand gauze, styptic powder and ointments, in case of a cut or abrasion while on the trail. Tread lightly at first The first time you take your dog hiking, take it easy and take cues from him. You don’t want to exhaust your dog and risk causing injury. Over time, you should be able to work up to more strenuous hikes, but always pay attention to your dog and don’t push him to go further or faster than he seems comfortable with. Hiking is a great way to get exercise and bond with your pets. Happy trails to you and your pooch!

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby questions@gmail.com.

Pet of the Week Meet Evie Evie is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was just rescued. This sweet girl has been through the absolute worst of the worst, but somehow, she is sweet, happy and has a tail that won’t stop wagging. Evie has never known love or a home to call her own, but all of that is about to change and we can’t wait to show her more of the “good life.” If you have room in your home and your heart for Evie, please contact Scout’s Honor Rescue at: www. scoutshonor.org.

Area athletes racing on to TAPPS state meet By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

St. Thomas High School may have been the headliner among area track teams with regard to state qualifiers, but the Eagles were not the only ones to make some noise at recent regional meets. Between St. Thomas and St. Pius X in TAPPS 6A and Lutheran High North in TAPPS 3A, there will be 20 individuals and six relay teams from area private schools competing this weekend at the TAPPS state meet, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Midway ISD’s Panther Stadium in Hewitt. The top four finishers in each regional event qualified. St. Thomas will send 14 individuals to the 6A meet as well as all three boys relay teams as it looks to win its second state title in three years after claiming the crown in 2019. Leading the way for the Eagles is Marquis Kiatta, who was the regional champion in

the boys triple jump with a distance of 43 feet, 5 inches and finished third in the long jump at 20-6.75. Kiatta also ran the lead legs for the Eagles’ regional champion relay teams in the 400 meters (43.48 seconds) and 800 (1:32.99). Heriberto Villegas was the individual 800 champion with a time of 1:58.75, while Andre Meza was the regional high jump winner after clearing 6 feet. St. Thomas’ boys 1,600 relay team of Villegas, Joseph Romero, Luke Anigbogu and Cameron Bonner was the regional champ in a time 3:27.62. Anigbogu also ran the anchor leg for the Eagles’ 400 and 800 relay teams. Lutheran High North will send five individuals and two relay teams to the 3A state meet, with Xavier Neal once again shining as one of TAPPS 3A’s brightest stars at the regional competition. He won the boys 200 with a time of

22.77 and placed second in the triple jump with a distance of 42-1.75. He also anchored the Lions’ 400 relay team that was the regional champion in a time of 44.76, as well as the 800 relay team that finished second in 1:35.19. Marvin Robinson Jr. finished second at the regional meet in the high jump to make it to state, clearing 6-2. Dylan Treat is headed to the state meet after a third-place finish in the 100 in 11.89. For the Lady Lions, Hailey Wilson is headed to state after a second-place finish the 100 hurdles with a time of 18.16. Sydney Cassens also advanced after a third-place finish in the shot put with a distance 30-6. For St. Pius X, Nethaneel Lolo is on his way to the 6A state meet after finishing third in the boys 100 with a time of 11.80. The Lady Panthers’ 800 relay is also headed to Hewitt on the heels of a fourth-place regional finish in 1:53.32.

St. Thomas clinches baseball district title By Landan Kuhlmann landan@theleadernews.com

The St. Thomas High School baseball program has a recent history of deep playoff runs, having been to the TAPPS state tournament nine times in the last 10 seasons while capturing titles in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2017. If the 2021 regular season is any indication, the Eagles may soon be contending for another state championship. The Eagles won both of their district games last week, an 8-3 win over rival St. Pius X on April 20 and 5-1 victory over Katy St. John XXIII, to clinch a district championship before losing 6-5 to Waltrip in a non-district matchup on April 24. St. Thomas won four of its last five district games to clinch the title. Texas A&M commit Will Rizzo hurled a 112-pitch complete game on April 20 against SPX while striking out nine hitters. Offensively, Peter Corbett and Colin D’Elia had two RBIs apiece for the Eagles (18-10-1, 9-3 district) against the Panthers, while Corbett also scored twice and stole two bases. In other private school ac-

tion, Kamare Shorts drove in both runs for Lutheran High North in a 21-2 loss against Beaumont Legacy Christian Academy, which dropped the Lions to 3-7 overall and 1-6 in district play. St. Pius X lost 1-0 to Kelly Catholic on April 22 and beat Katy St. John XXIII 7-0 on Monday, leaving the Panthers at 16-12 overall and 5-7 in district play. In public school action, the Waltrip Rams are closing in on a third consecutive district championship after a perfect week. The Rams pitched a pair of shutouts over Madison by scores of 23-0 and 1-0, then beat St. Thomas 6-5 on April 24. The Rams were 15-7-2 overall and 10-0 in District 23-5A entering play this week. They held a two-game lead over second-place Northside ahead of scheduled games against the Panthers on Wednesday and Saturday, and could clinch the title with a win. Softball St. Pius X’s Lady Panthers continued to roll with a 20-3 win over Concordia Lutheran on April 22 before finishing off

district play with a 25-0 win over Katy St. John XXIII on Tuesday. Alexis McGregor, Emily Dear, Jennifer Schmalz, and Victoria Hunter had two hits apiece for SPX (18-9, 10-0) against Concordia Lutheran. Hunter drove in three runs, while McGregor, Samantha Fox and Olivia McGee had two RBIs apiece. Six Lady Panthers had at least two hits against St. John XXIII, with Hunter homering twice and driving in six runs while Emily Dear had a homer and three RBIs. Waltrip’s Lady Rams are 9-2 on the season and in district competition after a pair of wins last week. They defeated Houston Austin 22-7 on April 20, then shut out Milby 4-0 on April 24 for their third consecutive victory, and sit in second place in District 23-5A. The Heights Lady Bulldogs (13-6, 10-2) were idle last week and will enter postseason play as the District 18-6A champion. They were slated for a non-district game against Homeschool Christian Youth Academy on Tuesday afternoon in their regular-season finale.

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